Tonight’s game featured Christian Ciuffetelli against ASU’s Adam Tullock. Ciuffetelli pitched well enough for the 2 1⁄3 innings that he pitched, and Tullock...well, Oregon lit up the Sun Devils from the get-go.
Drew Cowley started the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single that scored Tanner Smith. That was followed by a Josh Kasevich RBI hit that turned into a double on a muffed throw to home.
Anthony Hall hit another RBI single that scored one run. The potential 2 RBI single was negated at the plate.
The Ducks would be up 3-0 and Arizona State scored a run in the bottom to pull within two at 3-1.
In the top of the second, Cowley hit his second RBI in as many innings.
And Kasevich followed Cowley with a two-RBI hit that put Oregon up by five.
The Ducks kept ASU off home plate in the second, and the bats continued firing in the third. Brennan Milone added an RBI single, scoring Tanner Smith and putting Oregon up by six.
In the bottom of the third, RJ Gordon came in for relief of Ciuffetelli, whose pitching was going off the mark. Two were on base and with the bases loaded, Gordon threw a K by ASU, and that set the tone for Gordon’s pitching deep into the ninth.
Oregon picked up another run in the fourth, but went down after leaving the bases loaded. Gordon fanned the Sun Devils to a scoreless bottom of the 4th.
Oregon went scoreless in the fifth, as did ASU, and the score remained 8-1. Anthony Hall found yard in the sixth with the only Duck home run of the game.
ASU answered in the bottom of the inning off another unearned run, bring the score at 9-2. In the seventh, Anthony Hall hit for damage again, knocking a two-RBI hit with two outs.
That would be all that Oregon would score - and need to score - bringing the game to 11-2. RJ Gordon kept the Sun Devils off the board in the 7th and 8th innings, but did give up a home run in the ninth. When he allowed a couple of runners on base with two outs (and as much as he clearly wanted to finish the game), Rio Britton came in relief and ended the game at its final score of 11-3.
After liberally using their relievers in the series against UC San Diego earlier in the week, Oregon executed a masterful strategy this game. They started one of the only relief pitchers (Christian Ciuffetelli) that has had a slightly improved ERA over the past few weeks - where the vast majority of the others have not - and used him as a starter. Then the Ducks brought in a starter with the hot hand for relief. RJ Gordon was up to the task today, and pitched a fantastic 6.1 innings, giving nearly the entire bullpen a rest so that they’ll be fresh for Saturday and Sunday. These things don’t happen accidentally, and Oregon needs to prevail this weekend. Pitching-wise, they are set up as well as they could hope for.
The majority of the Oregon batting hit significant wood today, lead by Anthony Hall, Drew Cowley, Tanner Smith, and Josh Kasevich, putting the first game of this series in the books as a win for Oregon.
Oregon battles Arizona State again on Saturday, 5/14/22, at 6:00 pm PT. That game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network (Arizona).